New Music and New Musicology
At the beginning of a new year in the existence of the journal Musicology Today, we are looking at new music, but also at some of the instruments of new musicology. A young composer with theoretical preoccupations, Mihai Murariu, contributes a minute, precise and intelligent analysis of the study for piano Désordre by György Ligeti. This score analysis, which is also an implicit set of pedagogical principles for Murariu, is followed by Thomas Beimel’s study on Anatol Vieru’s orchestral music. In previous contributions, Beimel has got us used to his thorough investigation of ideological connections between new music composers and their creation. In Vieru’s case, the analysis of the composer’s technique goes hand in hand with considerations related to his Jewish origin, the Holocaust in România and nationalist communism. In other words, we read a historical-critical reception of a Romanian avant-garde composer in a style that has seldom been practised by Romanian musicology so far. In the same area of new music, a personal problematisation of Darmstadt aesthetic orientations is signed by Nicolae Brânduș under the section “Thoughts”, in a still unpublished letter sent to the director of the famous 1972 summer school.
If we are talking about a new musicological style, then Ștefan Firca’s contribution leads us through another field that has been insufficiently explored in this country, namely “new musicology”. Trends, concepts and notions launched in the humanities in the last three decades have also penetrated musicological thinking, and Ștefan Firca touches on several notions that have recently been reconsidered: topos, rhetoric, style, semiotics (etc.) in American studies, which have taken over contemporary world musicology. Paradoxically or not, research on old music that makes use of instruments developed in the last fifty years is part of the same field of “new musicology”, and Radu Mihalache’s review of John Walter Hill’s volume suggests a new approach to the history of the Baroque period.
(English translation by Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru)